Looking Beyond My Local Neurologist
I am currently seeing a neurologist. His office is a mere few miles from my house and he has been one of the few doctors who sit and listen to me. He is compassionate and wants me out of pain! However, since my doctor is not a headache specialist, he has limitations, and this is especially so because I am a complex case. I have migraine as well as cluster headache, which are two different primary headache disorders, and then trigeminal neuralgia was added into the mix. After a lot of teamwork, I felt that my health was finally well-managed, but then a new problem presented itself and both my neurologist and I were both puzzled. I thought I knew what I had, but the doctor hadn’t heard of it and he certainly had no idea how to treat it.
Then I heard about Neura Health, a virtual headache clinic led by Dr. Thomas Berk, a certified headache specialist at NYU Langone in New York. I hadn’t used telehealth much before, but despite that I was excited at the prospect, and I wanted to see how the Neura Health program worked.
- Subscription: I subscribed to the service via the website. The first week was only $1 with just $28 per month afterwards, and cancellable at any time.
- Downloading: I downloaded the app from the Apple store (Note: It is also available on Google Play).
- Discovery: I discovered that within the app there were many things I could do including scheduling a video visit, requesting a prescription, recording a headache, and discovering trends.
When I first signed up I had to complete the medical history forms, which are available under the profile section. Filling out the paperwork was great because I could copy/paste and type rather than hand write while sitting in an office waiting room, and there was no messy handwriting! Key for me was a tip that helped me complete the paperwork because there was too much information to try and enter through the app – by clicking the form I was given the option to “long press” the form. When I did that, a menu popped up saying, “Email me a link” which then gave me the option to fill out the forms on my laptop rather than my phone.
Once I submitted my forms, I requested an appointment by clicking, “Book Video Visit.” This took me to the “Get Care” tab where I chatted with my Care Concierge to let them know what I needed. It was Wednesday evening when I submitted my request for a virtual visit, I received an answer on Thursday, and then was able to schedule an appointment for the very next day. Something that is unheard of when trying to see a headache specialist!
Recording Headache Attacks
It was helpful to me to be able to record my headache attacks in the Neura Health app, and then be able to look back and see when I took what medications. The added bonus of this is that the doctor is able to access my headache journal (minus the notes) for virtual visits. Also, once I recorded three attacks I was able to begin looking at my trends, which was interesting.
I was sent a video link for my appointment, and from the moment it began I felt that Dr. Berk, the Medical Director of Neura Health, gave me his undivided attention. He even periodically read back from his notes to make sure he’d caught everything. After taking a detailed history, we eventually caught up to the new attack episodes I was experiencing. Fortunately, I had a video of an attack, and as he watched the video play on my phone over zoom he called out the symptoms and confirmed that I now also experience episodic SUNCT.
I currently have four diagnoses that fall under the headache specialist umbrella. I experience migraine with and without aura, chronic cluster headache disease, trigeminal neuralgia and now episodic SUNCT. Dr. Berk asked great questions about my symptoms and current treatments. Surprisingly to me, he knew the ultimate concern I was afraid to speak – “I’m managing ok today, but what happens when I can no longer manage well with my current treatments?” I was relieved to discover that there are more treatment options if I need them!
Since Neura Health is not yet licensed in my state yet, this was only an educational visit, but the good news is that they are willing to work with my current health care provider, and I will be taking them up on that once I have explained the program to my neurologist. Finally, at the end I was able to request my visit notes which I can take to my local doctor as well for his records.
I’m really excited to have such easy access to a headache specialist who is not only knowledgeable but sympathetic to headache disease. Being able to confirm a rare diagnosis was really helpful to me, and Dr. Berk was able to relieve some of my worst fears by showing me there are more treatment options if my current regimen begins to crumble.
The latest addition to the Neura Health experience is an appointment with a migraine coach, and when I requested the visit, it was easy and fast to schedule. I was not sure what to expect, but my coach went over everything from how my current treatment is working, to how things are going in my personal life, my diet, and exercise routines. She was able to validate what I was noticing and we talked through some options for me. She also asked if I have questions that she could take to my doctor to see if there is something that can be adjusted. At the end of the meeting, I was given notes to refer back to the information we talked about.
In short, I’m really excited about my journey with Neura Health. It is easy to use and it offers services I never considered were possible where I currently live! If you are interested in trying Neura Health, you can sign up for just $1 for the first week – CLICK HERE
Let Us Know.
Have you ever tried telehealth in a different state in order to get a second opinion? Is this something you may consider for your migraine or other headache disorder treatment? Do you think your local doctor be open to partnering with a headache specialist to help manage your treatment? Do you have an accurate diagnosis for your type of migraine or other headache disorder?